03-07-2020

Can you make inspiration happen?

Image by Grace Ho 

I recently came across the saying – “Creativity is intelligence having fun,” which is often incorrectly attributed to Einstein (the correct attribution is unknown). The phrase resonated with me, although I would rephrase it to “Creativity is hard work having fun.”


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At any rate, the saying made me think about how story ideas come about. At times it may seem that a novel idea develops magically in our brain–inspiration, we call it. Other times, you need to work at it to find our way. The truth is that the two processes (the apparent magic and the painstaking approach) are not that dissimilar.

Novel ideas seldom (I would even venture to say never) come from nowhere. They are usually a manifestation of our experiences and the thoughts and analysis we bring to those experiences. When they appear ‘like magic’, it is likely because our subconscious has been quietly working, storing and organizing information and making associations between our ideas and experiences. When we work at making those connections with mind maps, charts, brainstorming, and so on, we make that subconscious thought-process conscious. We are creating inspiration.

On the flip side, we can encourage inspiration by giving our subconscious as much support as possible. 

  • Give your brain a rest, downtime to develop ideas, turn problems and experiences around.
  • Give your brain time to have fun.
  • Expose yourself to ideas by reading, listening.
  • Make the subconscious conscious by thinking about small things that happen in your day and analyzing how we react to them.

07-06-2020

YA Review-Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

I have to thank Ann Marie Harvey, Librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, for bringing this book to the top of my reading list on which it has been languishing since it was first published last year. Ann Marie invited me to a virtual book club meeting which I would not have been able to attend if it had been held in person (#covidsilverlining) and Frying Plantain was the book being discussed. I was unable to read it before the meeting, but it sparked such an interesting discussion that I decided to read it afterwards, and I am glad I did. Continue reading “YA Review-Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta”

05-06-2020

Review-The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

It’s 2015 and we meet David Baptiste, his “dreads…grey and his body wizened to twigs of hard black coral.” He is a fisherman on St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, who had been the center of “the events of 1976” when a mermaid came to shore on the island and challenged the hearts and ideals of the villagers. Through a combination of points-of-view: deeply-introspective entries from David’s diary entries; haunting poems from Aycayia, the mermaid; and a third person narrative, Roffey throws us into the world of Black Conch where the people must decide what to do with the discovery that mermaids actually exist.

Continue reading “Review-The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey”

25-05-2020

Review-Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma

When I heard the premise of this book, I was intrigued and skeptical. A woman of African descent from Trinidad ends up in what is now known as Big Horn, Montana in 1830? Really? The likelihood and the logistics baffled me. Well, Francis-Sharma handles this masterfully with confidence backed up by compelling characters, complicated relationships, and what must have been a tremendous amount of research.  Continue reading “Review-Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma”

01-05-2020

Review-A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is essentially a coming-of-age story set in Uganda in the 1970s. The story begins with Kirabo Nnamiiro, a smart, feisty, twelve-year-old girl who consults a blind elderly neighbor, Nsuuta-labeled by the village as a witch-, to help search for her mother and also to help her to deal with the conflicting emotions wracking her teenage body that make her “feel squeezed inside this body as if there is no space.” The relationship Kirabo develops with Nsuuta is complicated by the contentious relationship between Nsuuta and Kirabo’s grandmother, Muka Miiro, an intriguing relationship which becomes the centerpiece of the story at one point. Continue reading “Review-A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi”

24-04-2020

Review-One Year of Ugly by Caroline MacKenzie

This review is of what I believe is a pre-final-edited-version of this book provided to me by Simon and Schuster via Net Galley. The book is set to be released July 14, 2020.

One Year of Ugly takes readers on a riotous ride of family and romantic drama. Twenty-four-year-old Yola Palacio and her family are middle-class Venezuelans living illegally in Trinidad and thrown into a situation involving a criminal who goes by the name Ugly. Ugly takes advantage of the Palacio’s precarious position as illegals and blackmails them into supporting his criminal activities. In the story that unfolds, Yola struggles with a forbidden love interest and discovers that there is more to the people in her family, and more to life in general than she thought. Her family grows closer, mature, and emerge at the other end of this personal crisis scarred, transformed, but somewhat in tact. Continue reading “Review-One Year of Ugly by Caroline MacKenzie”

12-04-2020

Review-Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

Sometimes when I stay up reading until 3 am, it’s because I can’t sleep, and sometimes it’s because a book is so captivating I cannot stand to go to sleep until I know what happens to the protagonist. Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson  fell in the latter category. I needed to know the Tan Tan’s fate before I could sleep soundly. This is not a new book, it was first published in 2000, however, it is now April 2020 and so I have a little extra time on my hands. Continue reading “Review-Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson”

20-01-2020

Review-The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

It has been a long time since I have had the time to review a book on this site, so please pardon my extended hiatus. I listened to the audio book version of Sara Collin’s The Confessions of Frannie Langton last week and have not been able to stop thinking about it since. If you are interested in historical fiction with a gothic Frankenstein-esque twist which highlights women’s experiences and does not shy away from the worst of man’s predilection for inhumanity, I highly recommend this book.

It is the late 1800s and Frannie Langton, a formerly enslaved Jamaican woman, is on trial for her life in a London court. Continue reading “Review-The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins”

25-07-2018

Why Audio Books Work

I don’t recall why, but several years ago, I borrowed the first Harry Potter book on tape and started playing it in the car. It was my second experience with audio books, and it was life-changing. The narrator Jim Dale brought the book to life. Our whole family listened, including my daughter who, at the time, was too young to read the book herself; and my husband who would come home from work and spend some time catching up from where he had last left off. Continue reading “Why Audio Books Work”